School etc

Grange Valley Primary School

Grange Valley Primary School
Heyes Avenue
St Helens

phone: 01744 678300

headteacher: Mrs Dianne Holcroft Ba Hons (Qts), Npqh

reveal email: gran…


school holidays: via St. Helens council

224 pupils aged 2—10y mixed gender
210 pupils capacity: 107% full

105 boys 47%


120 girls 54%


Last updated: June 18, 2014

Primary — Community School

Education phase
Establishment type
Community School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 355627, Northing: 396446
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 53.463, Longitude: -2.6698
Accepting pupils
3—11 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Nov. 23, 2011
Region › Const. › Ward
North West › St. Helens North › Haydock
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Special classes
Has Special Classes
Free school meals %

Grange Valley Primary School

Inspection report

Age group 3–11
Inspection date(s) 23–24 November 2011
Inspection number 377127
Unique Reference Number 104774
Local authority St. Helens
Inspect ion number 377127
Inspect ion dates 23–24 November 2011
Report ing inspector Joanne Olsson HMI

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school Primary
School category Community
Age range of pupils 3–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Nu mber of pupils on the school roll 207
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Nigel Rouch
Headteacher Ian Hardman
Date of prev ious school inspection 8 January 2009
School address Heyes Avenue
St Helens
WA11 0XQ
Telephone number 01744 678300
Fax number 01744 678304
Email address reveal email: Ian.…


This inspection was carried out by one of Her Majesty's Inspectors and two additional
inspectors. Twelve lessons led by eight teachers were observed. Inspectors made
several visits to classrooms to observe the teaching of reading. They also visited the
Early Years Foundation Stage and observed children at play and at work. Meetings
were held with groups of pupils, senior leaders and managers, members of the
governing body and the previous School Improvement Partner. Inspectors observed

the school’s work and looked at a range of documentation, including arrangements

for safeguarding, information about pupils’ attainment and progress and pupils’
books. They considered the responses to questionnaires from staff, pupils and 124
parents and carers.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail
at a number of key areas.

  • Whether all pupils are making consistently good and sometimes outstanding
    progress from their starting points, particularly in writing.
  • Whether the achievement gaps between pupils in Key Stage 1, girls and more-
    able pupils are rapidly closing.
  • How effectively the school has secured improvements in the quality of teaching
    to enable all groups of pupils to make at least good and often exceptional
    progress from their starting points.
  • The impact of all leaders and managers, including members of the governing
    body, in driving improvements to teaching and to pupils’ achievement.

Information about the school

This is a slightly smaller than average-sized primary school. The vast majority of
pupils are from White British heritages. The number of pupils from minority ethnic
groups is low, as is the proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional
language. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals is
above average. There are fewer pupils with special educational needs and/or
disabilities and fewer pupils with a statement of special educational needs than found
nationally. The school has received a number of awards, including the Activemark
and the Basic Skills Award. During the inspection, two members of staff were on
maternity leave.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspec tion terms

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness: how good is the school? 2
The school's capacity for sustained improvement 2

Main findings

A common sense of purpose and a shared drive to promote pupils’ enjoyment,

achievement and well-being mean this good school has improved considerably since
the previous inspection. ‘We are just like a massive family’ is a typical comment from
pupils, who are very proud of their school and make an outstanding contribution to
its success. Pupils say they enjoy school and this is reflected in their positive
attitudes and above-average attendance. Their respectful and considerate behaviour
makes a significant contribution to their learning. Parents and carers are
overwhelmingly positive about almost all aspects of the school. The views of many

are summed up in the comment ‘Grange Valley is a wonderful school’.

Most pupils enter nursery with skills and knowledge that are low for their age. They
make good progress across the school and leave Year 6 with attainment levels that
broadly match the national average. Pupils’ achievement in English, particularly
writing, has improved because they have ample opportunity to write for a variety of

purposes across a range of subjects. Although boys’ attainment is higher at the end

of Key Stage 2, there is little variation in the achievement of boys and girls across
the school. Pupils in Key Stage 1 make good progress from their lower-than-average
starting points so their attainment levels are improving. Although pupils’ overall
achievement has improved since the previous inspection, not enough pupils are
reaching the higher levels in English or mathematics.
The quality of teaching is good; sometimes it is inspirational. Teachers plan lively and
imaginative lessons which make pupils’ learning purposeful and fun. Assessment
information is used well to make sure activities meet the needs of most pupils,
although the tasks for more-able pupils sometimes lack challenge. Teachers’ marking
is thorough and celebrates achievement. Pupils’ receive very clear guidance on how
to improve their writing style but gaps in basic skills, such as spelling, handwriting
and punctuation are not systematically addressed. The teaching of early reading is
strong, but is less well developed for older pupils. This is because independent
reading activities sometimes lack purpose and there are insufficient opportunities for
pupils to read for purpose and pleasure across the curriculum.
Tenacious leadership by the headteacher, ably supported by a team of increasingly
strong leaders and managers has driven forward improvements in the school and has
promoted outstanding partnerships with a range of external institutions. Former
shortcomings have been eradicated because of clear development plans, focused
staff development and outstanding partnerships to support pupils’ learning and well-
being. Regular monitoring activities mean that self-evaluation is accurate. However,
these monitoring activities are not always focused sharply enough on the progress
that all pupils, particularly the most able, are making. Nonetheless, senior leaders
and managers, including members of the governing body, know their school well and
they have the support and confidence of pupils, staff and parents and carers.
Consequently the school’s capacity to secure further improvements is good.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Raise pupils’ achievement further, particularly for more-able pupils by:
    - ensuring all activities for the most-able pupils are precisely matched to
    their needs and provide sufficient challenge
    - ensuring teachers’ marking systematically addresses any gaps in pupils'
    spelling, punctuation and handwriting skills
    - ensuring all monitoring activities focus sharply on pupils’ learning and the
    progress all groups are making.
  • Improve the teaching of reading in Key Stage 2 by:
    - ensuring independent reading tasks are purposeful and relevant so they
    meet the needs and interests of all pupils
    - ensuring pupils are aware of the progress they are making in reading and
    what they need to do to improve
    - providing greater opportunities for pupils to read for purpose and pleasure
    across the curriculum.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils 2

‘Wow!’ and ‘this is fun!’ are typical comments from pupils during lessons. They

thoroughly enjoy their learning and apply themselves well to all activities. In a Year 6
English lesson, pupils worked with tremendous enthusiasm to investigate how puns
are used in headlines. They shared their ideas and worked with exceptional levels of
independence to decode hidden clues around the classroom. In a Year 1 English
lesson, all pupils wrote imaginative descriptions of a story-book character. They used
their strong knowledge of the sounds letters make to tackle new and often complex
words confidently. They independently checked their work to make sure it matched
the precise targets the teacher had provided. Activities such as these excite and
challenge pupils. They equip them with the skills to be responsible for their own
learning and behaviour while allowing them to become critical and reflective thinkers.

Pupils’ achievement in writing and mathematics is strong. This is because their skills

are systematically built on as they move throughout the school and they have regular
opportunities to write at length and carry out investigations across a range of

subjects. Pupils’ achievement in reading is strong overall, but some older pupils are

not always sure what they need to do to improve their reading skills. More-able
pupils do not always receive enough challenge to enable them to make swifter
progress. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities make consistently
good progress because of the effective support they receive from skilled teaching
assistants. Although the attainment of pupils known to be eligible for free school
meals is lower than the national average, this group are making better progress than
their peers. As a result, gaps in achievement are being successfully narrowed.
Pupils say they feel safe and they are confident any issues they raise are taken
seriously and dealt with effectively. Pupils have a sound understanding of how to
keep themselves safe and they talk with confidence about the strategies they use to
protect themselves when using personal computers at home. Pupils know a balanced
diet and exercise helps them to lead a healthy lifestyle. Older pupils have a keen
awareness of the dangers related to smoking and alcohol misuse. Pupils take their
responsibilities very seriously. The school council is proud of the contribution it has
made to the school grounds, while the play leaders work hard to make playtime fun
for younger pupils. Pupils show their interest in the community by working with
pupils in another primary school and through the positive relationship they have
forged with the local retirement home. Pupils’ very well developed personal qualities,
in addition to secure basic skills mean they are well prepared for the future.

These are the grades for pupils' outcomes

Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning
Taking into account:
Pupils' attainment
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities
and their progress



The extent to which pupils feel safe 2
Pupils' behaviour 2
The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifesty les 2
The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community 1
The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will
contribute to their future economic well-being
Taking into account:
Pupils' attendance


The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development 2

How effective is the provision?

All teaching is characterised by warm and trusting relationships. Lessons are relevant
and interesting because teachers link learning to everyday life. Teachers use a wide
range of strategies to motivate pupils and maximise the use of time. Some teaching
is exceptional. This is because teachers are skilled at organising activities so pupils
can acquire new skills and knowledge with high levels of independence. Every

opportunity is taken to consolidate prior learning and extend pupils’ thinking. These

teachers provide precise guidance so pupils know what they are aiming for and are
able to measure their own success. However, teaching does not always meet the
needs of the most-able pupils. The teaching of early reading is systematic and
thorough. Teachers provide good opportunities for older pupils to read and discuss
texts with adults. However, independent reading activities sometimes lack purpose

and are not always carefully matched to pupils’ reading abilities.


The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average;

and 4 is low

The well-organised and imaginative curriculum meets the needs of most pupils
because there is a good balance between academic and creative areas of learning.

Pupils’ obvious delight and skill in using stringed instruments to perform a Christmas

carol during a music lesson is a typical outcome of the school’s effective provision.
Good opportunities to link subjects together mean pupils have purposeful
opportunities to use their writing and mathematical skills in a range of contexts.
However, there are insufficient opportunities for older pupils to read for purpose and
pleasure across the curriculum. Pupils’ personal and academic development is
enriched by a wide range of themed days, visits and visitors.

‘Teachers are always looking out for you’ is a typical comment from the

overwhelming majority of pupils who agree adults in the school care about them.
Well-founded systems and effective partnerships mean individuals and groups of
pupils receive the support they need to make progress in their learning and personal
development. Good induction procedures and transition arrangements are in place so
pupils quickly settle into the nursery and Year 1. However, as the school recognises,
this good practice is not as common when pupils move from Year 2 to Year 3.

Rigorous systems for monitoring pupils’ absence and rewarding good attendance

have led to a rapid improvement in the attendance rates for those pupils with the
highest levels of absence. Consequently, attendance rates have increased and are
now higher than the national average.

These are the grades for the quality of provision

The quality of teaching
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning


The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where
relevant, through partnerships
The effectiveness of care, guidance and support 2

How effective are leadership and management?

Determined leadership and decisive action have led to considerable improvements in

almost all aspects of the school’s work. Senior leaders and managers make a
valuable contribution to the school’s success because they have a clear
understanding of their role and they share the headteacher’s ambition for the future.

The systems to check the quality of teaching are regular and effective. Consequently,
teaching is consistently good. However, these monitoring activities do not always
focus sharply enough on the progress all pupils make on a day-to-day basis.
Assessment information is used well to identify any pupils at risk of underperforming
and swift action is taken to tackle any underachievement. Members of the re-
invigorated governing body have increased their effectiveness because of the
targeted training they have received. Due to their clear role in monitoring the

school’s performance, members of the governing body have an accurate and honest
understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses.

Positive relationships with parents and carers are fostered through regular
newsletters and electronic communication. In response to the suggestions made by
some parents and carers, the school introduced an additional parents’ evening and
broadened the range of after-school clubs. Partnerships are outstanding because
they are used to enhance almost every aspect of school-life: for example, links with
local schools has led to a whole-school learning and teaching strategy, while all
pupils took part in the Junior Chef Academy to develop basic cooking skills. Pupils are
appropriately supervised during break and lunchtimes and the procedures for
safeguarding meet statutory requirements. However, as the school recognises, the

systems for assuring these procedures sometimes lack rigour. Community cohesion is

effectively promoted because the school has an accurate understanding of its own
context and has established strong links with a school in another community to

develop pupils’ understanding of cultural diversity. The school itself is a very cohesive

because all forms of discrimination are appropriately tackled. The narrowing of

achievement gaps between different groups of pupils means the school’s provision

for equality of opportunity is good.

These are the grades for the leadership and management

The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambit ion and
driv ing improvement
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning


The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and support ing the
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities
The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers 2
The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being 1
The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and
tackles discrimination
The effectiveness of safeguarding proce dures 3
The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion 2
The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for

Early Years Foundation Stage

When most children join the Early Years Foundation Stage, what they know and
what they can do is much lower than expected for their age. Most children make
good progress from this starting point and enter Year 1 with skills and knowledge
that are slightly below average. Children enjoy their time in nursery and reception.
They are enthusiastic and need little prompting to participate. For example, all
children thoroughly enjoyed the group singing session in the nursery. Children are
willing to cooperate and share resources. This was evident as two children worked
very well together on a letter recognition game. They took turns and showed real
delight when they or their partner found a matching pair. Children are equally
content to work independently and often show sustained levels of concentration.
Children work and play safely. They show pride in their area by taking an active role
during tidy-up time.
The well-organised and welcoming classrooms enable different groups to make good
progress across all areas of learning. Adults support learning well because their

intervention is timely and they use questions effectively to extend children’s

knowledge and skills. Planning is well informed by accurate on-going assessment. As

a result, activities are imaginative, exciting and well matched to the needs and
interests of the children. Activities to develop early number and reading skills are well
developed because teachers have good subject knowledge. The outdoor environment
fully reflects all of the areas of learning. Consequently, children’s learning is equally
strong whether they are indoors or working outside.
The Early Years Foundation Stage is well led and managed; adults are clear about
their roles and responsibilities and work collaboratively to support children’s learning.
The priorities to secure further improvement are accurate because they are based on
regular monitoring activities and effective communication between nursery and
reception staff. Positive relationships with parents and carers are fostered through
effective communication. The ‘Holiday Books’ provide valuable information about

children’s interests at home and are used well to ensure they settle quickly into the


These are the grades for the Early Years Foundation Stage

Overall effectiveness of the Ear ly Years Foundation stage
Taking into account:
Outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The quality of provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The effectiveness of leadership and management in the Early Years Foundation



Views of parents and carers

The return rate for the questionnaires was higher than is usual in primary schools.
Almost all the parents and carers who returned the questionnaire agree that their
children enjoy school and are kept safe. The overwhelming majority consider
teaching at the school to be good and that the school helps them to support their

children’s learning. The vast majority also believe that the school is effectively led

and managed. A few were not so content with the manner in which unacceptable
behaviour is handled. Inspectors looked at these concerns carefully and the findings
are included within this report.

Responses from parents and carers to Ofsted's


Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Grange Valley Primary
School to complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13
statements about the school.
The inspection team received 124 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In
total, there are 207 pupils registered at the school.
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The
percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number
of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular
question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.

Statements Strongly
Agree Disagree disagree
Total % Total % Total % Total %
My child enjoys school 95 77 29 23 0 0 0 0
The school keeps my child
99 80 23 19 0 0 0 0
The school informs me
about my child's progress
87 70 35 28 1 1 0 0
My child is making enough
progress at this school
93 75 30 24 1 1 0 0
The teaching is good at
this school
102 82 22 18 0 0 0 0
The school helps me to
support my child's learning
84 68 39 31 0 0 0 0
The school helps my child
to have a healthy lifestyle
80 65 44 35 0 0 0 0
The school makes sure that
my child is well prepared
for the future (for example
changing year group,
changing school, and for
children who are finishing
school, entering further or
higher education, or
entering employment)
79 64 43 35 0 0 0 0
The school meets my
child's particular needs
79 64 42 34 1 1 0 0
The school deals effectively
with unacceptable
76 61 40 32 7 6 0 0
The school takes account
of my suggestions and
78 63 43 35 1 1 0 0
The school is led and
managed effectively
96 77 27 22 0 0 0 0
Overall, I am happy with
my child's experience at
this school
98 79 25 20 0 0 0 0


What inspection judgements mean

Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding These features are highly effective. An outstanding
school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils'
Grade 2 Good These are very positive features of a school. A school
that is good is serving its pupils well.
Grade 3 Satisfactory These features are of reasonable quality. A
satisfactory school is providing adequately for its
Grade 4 Inadequate These features are not of an acceptable standard. An
inadequate school needs to make significant
improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils.
Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it

Overall effectiveness of schools

Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)
Type of
Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Nursery schools 43 47 10 0
Primary schools 6 46 42 6
14 36 41 9
Sixth forms 15 42 41 3
Special schools 30 48 19 3
Pupil referral
14 50 31 5
All schools 10 44 39 6

New school inspection arrangements were introduced on 1 September 2009. This means that
inspectors now make some additional judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above is for the period 1 September 2010 to 08 April 2011 and are consistent
with the latest published official statistics about maintained school inspection outcomes (see
The sample of schools inspected during 2010/11 was not representative of all schools nationally, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100. Sixth form figures reflect the
judgements made for the overall effectiveness of the sixth form in secondary schools, special schools
and pupil referral units.

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their
learning, development or training.
Attainment: the standard of the pupils' work shown by test
and examination results and in lessons.
Capacity to improve: the proven ability of the school to continue
improving. Inspectors base this judgement on
what the school has accomplished so far and on
the quality of its systems to maintain
Leadership and management: the contribution of all the staff with
responsibilities, not just the headteacher, to
identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff
and running the school.
Learning: how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their
understanding, learn and practise skills and are
developing their competence as learners.
Overall effectiveness: inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall
effectiveness based on the findings from their
inspection of the school. The following
judgements, in particular, influence what the
overall effectiveness judgement will be.

The school's capacity for sustained
Outcomes for individuals and groups of
The quality of teaching.
The extent to which the curriculum meets
The effectiveness of care, guidance and
pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships.
Progress: the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons
and over longer periods of time. It is often
measured by comparing the pupils' attainment at
the end of a key stage with their attainment when
they started.

25 November 2011
Dear Pupils

Inspection of Grange Valley Primary School, St Helens – WA11 0XQ

Thank you for making the inspection team feel at home and welcome when we
recently came to inspect your school. It was a real treat to meet you and listen to
your views about school. You told us lots of positive things because you are very
proud of your school. We consider Grange Valley to be a good school. These are the
main things we found out about your school.

  • Your school has improved since the last time it was inspected.
  • You make good progress over time and your attainment is average.
  • You enjoy school, feel safe and trust the adults who care for you. You attend
    school regularly.
  • You enjoy your learning; you are willing to work hard and you behave well in
    lessons and around the school.
  • You are keen to take on responsibilities around school and you are interested in
    your local community.
  • Teachers are good at making your learning interesting and fun.

In order to make your school even better, we have asked the governing body to
work with the headteacher and staff to focus on a few key areas. We have asked
them to make sure those of you who are more able always receive challenging work.
We have also asked them to improve the teaching of reading for older pupils by

giving you more opportunities to read in different subjects.

We are sure that with such positive personal qualities you will help your teachers and
headteacher to improve the school further. Please accept our warmest wishes for the
Yours sincerely,
Joanne Olsson
Her Majesty's Inspector


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